NASHVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) — Witnesses and first responders are being credited with saving a man’s life after they pulled him from a fiery crash Friday in Nash County.
Jeffrey Kowalk was driving on Taylor Store Road in Nashville Friday morning when his son says he lost control of the vehicle.
His car crashed into a tree and caught fire.
“He remembered swerving to miss somebody and hitting the tree,” said Rob Kowalk. “He says he then saw the flames and he tried to get out and couldn’t get out and said, ‘Wow this might be the end.’”
Jeffrey Kowalk had several injuries, including a broken leg, that kept him from getting out of the burning car.
However, shortly after the crash, several bystanders stepped in to try to get Kowalk out of his car.
One of those bystanders was Carl Moore, who just happens to work with the Rocky Mount Fire Department. Moore was on his way to work when he saw Kowalk’s crashed car on fire.
“The reason I’m in the profession I’m in is my passion to help people and I’m just fortunate enough to be in the right place and right time,” said Moore.
Meanwhile, Sgt. Mariel Moore, a detective with the Nash County Sheriff’s Office, arrived on the scene as firefighter Moore and two other bystanders were trying to get Kowalk out of the car.
“I was actually terrified because when I was in the car I could feel the heat from the flames,” said Sgt. Moore. “I remember thinking, ‘If I stay in this car too long it might explode with all of us in here and we could all die.’”
They were finally able to get Kowalk out of the car and minutes later the car exploded. Both first responders are quick to pass the praise to the two civilians who stepped in to help.
“The compassion out of those trying to help another individual in need, it was just tremendous,” said Carl Moore.
“Had they not stopped there was no way alone I could have got him out of the car,” said Sgt. Moore. “It was my job to be there, but they did it because they were good people.”
And as Kowalk is recovering at the hospital with several broken bones, his family is also praising first responders and the bystanders for their heroic actions.
“If they hadn’t gotten him out, he would have been dead and I want to thank all of them for that,” said Rob Kowalk. “We can’t repay that debt, but we want to let them know thank you because there are no do-overs in life.”